10 STEP GUIDE TO CRAFT A CHARCUTERIE BOARD
Not only do we strive to create the feeling of home when we’re listing a property for sale, we aim to provide that same feeling when we’re entertaining our friends and family! Now that we’re able to gather once again, what better way to do that then over a lovely selection of some of our faves…cheese and charcuterie.
Of course there’s the option of just placing some cheese on a board, but we’d rather take a few extra steps to make it something beautiful! You eat with your eyes first, so let’s make it something that’s visually appealing.
Follow along and we’ll show you how to turn a few selected items into something your guests will ooh and ahh over and is sure to thoroughly impress!
Step 1. Choose A Base
Size matters. You want something that’s big enough to hold all of your selected items. The days of having crackers on the side in a basket and nuts in a bowl are done. So be sure you lay out all of your chosen items and select a “canvass” that will be big enough to hold it all.
Marble and wood boards are popular selections.
Our go-to wooden boards are from a local family business Meks. Their pieces are not only gorgeous and perfect for crafting charcuterie boards, but they are also hand crafted and inspired by the elements. How neat!
Step 2. Add Anchors
We do this by placing a selection of small dishes around the board, usually 2-3 is sufficient. These little vessels will hold any mustards, jams or olives.
If you haven’t checked out the Cheese Boutique’s Botega on Ripley Ave. in Toronto, they have a great selection of unique dishes, that are perfect for this.
Step 3. Cheese Please!
Since you’re likely at the bodega, head back over to Cheese Boutique proper. This amazing store is our go-to for all things cheese board related!
When we’re thinking of what cheese to add to our boards, we really try to think not only taste and texture but region as well. You want to have a good variation. Depending on the number of guests will of course determine the amount you add, but 3-5 is typically a good number and allows you to get a good variety but isn’t overwhelming and won’t get lost amongst it all.
Blue Cheese – Our preferred are Celtic Blue made by Glengarry Fine Cheese in Lancaster, Ontario or Cashel Blue Cheese from Ireland. Both are a little lighter for those that are a little hesitant about the funk and both are amazing with a little drizzle of honey! The perfect way to ease yourself into the world of Blue.
Gouda – Blackout Gouda. Originally from the Netherlands, this is a firm Cow’s milk cheese with some crystallization, so it offers a nice textural element.
Goats Cheese – Le Grand Chevalier or Grey Owl both made in Quebec. Two of our absolute faves!
Cows Milk Cheese – L’Origine de Charlevoix also made in Quebec! Softer cheese with a smell that’s a little funkier than you may expect, but the taste is quite smooth and easy going.
Classic Cheddar – You can’t go wrong with a nice white cheddar. Black Bomber is a good go to being an easy eating cheese. Not too sharp and a great addition for those that are huge fans of the world of Blue or those softer cheeses.
These are just a few of our faves, if you’re lucky enough to get served by Afrim, the owner and Maitre Fromager, he will take care of you! His wealth of knowledge of all things cheese is impressive to say the least!
Once you’ve narrowed it down, place your selections at various angles around the board and amongst your dishes.
Step 4. Breads And Crackers
Again variety is key, but definitely have at least one bread option and 2-3 cracker options. And don’t stress over this…the bread can be cut in slices, cubes or ripped and the crackers can be sprinkled around or layered. Just be sure you have options that suit your guests. Need gluten-free? Be sure you’ve accounted for that. We try to group them closest to the cheese or meat they would go best with, but again don’t fuss!
Step 5. Meaty Bits!
The variety is ultimately your choice, but again we aim to have 2-3 charcuterie options and 1 patte.
We prefer a dryer selection. We usually add a German salami, Serrano Ham from Spain is a real treat and a liver pate. Pepperettes are an easy option too. Just cut them into bite sized pieces and scatter about.
Selections that include walnuts are quite popular these days, but of course think allergies and ensure none of your guests would be affected.
Whatever you choose, try and get a selection of shapes. A thicker small slice is easy to grab and good for dipping in the your grainy mustard. A thinner larger circumference is great for creating flowers! (Fold the circle in half, roll and continue to add them around it’s just that easy!).
Step 6. The Salt And Tang
A grainy mustard is a must, goes great with salami! We just picked up a maple mustard from CB, it’s delish!
Pickles/gurkins and pitted olives are our go-tos, but not always loved by all. Knowing your audience helps.
Nuts, salted or roasted. These little guys will be picked at for sure.
Save any salty or tangy snacks that don’t fit in ramekins to fill in gaps at the very end.
Step 7. Fruits
This selection may be dependent on what’s in season, but there are some popular options.
We usually place a sprig of grapes, green or red whatever your preference (just make sure there’s no seeds). And we love a fig or two. We typically keep one whole as it offers a lovely visual piece and then scatter groupings of cut ones. These are usually grouped in odd numbers, 3/5 is a good amount.
Of course you could add some dried apricots or dates, but sometimes less is more.
Step 8. Sweets
Now this is a must! Every board needs a little chocolate. We are typically fans of milk chocolate, but do find that dark chocolate pairs best. Maybe it’s because we often have wine with our cheese…but truly put whatever you’d prefer.
Chocolate covered pretzels are a great option or something festive like Easter eggs if it’s that time of year! A little sweetness is always gobbled up.
Step 9. Fill In The Gaps
If there are any spaces left on your board, fill them in with leftover items from any of the above categories.
Step 10. Enjoy!
That’s it…you’ve built yourself a show-stopping charcuterie board!
And again, if it’s not perfect who cares!
The important thing is that you’re gathered with your loved ones and sharing your home. Aren’t we thrilled that we can do that once again?
You made it to the end! THANK YOU!!
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